Proton was started by Tun Mahathir, and was recently owned by the Government. It is now privately owned.
Up until now taxis in Malaysia were mostly Protons. Now that is about to change. Toyota products have now received official blessing.
Toyota Innova MPV officially unveiled as TEKS1M cab - (Paul Tan)
Tun Mahathir is now the Chairman of Proton and Lotus. I cannot speak on his behalf, but I suspect that he will not welcome the competition!
Protons Malaysia market share in the past 10 years has dropped considerably, this won't help.
In England, my local garage stopped selling Protons a couple of years ago.
Lotus will be building their next new vehicle, an SUV in China. Here is a small portion of todays Malaysian Reserve article:
The market presence of Lotus cars in China was done via Goldstar Lotus Automobile Co Ltd, a JV company between the three parties. Proton, Lotus and Goldstar will own 40%, 10% and 50% respectively in the JV company, which will cost up to 10 billion yuan (RM6.15 billion).
I am not an insider... So I don't know for sure if this is being based on an existing platform, Proton Exora being the most obvious, or with the Lotus Toyota connection, they use their engines, possibly a Toyota platfom, or as Proton have agreement with Honda and Suzuki possibly something they currently use...
Building from scratch would only make sense if it were to be a global platform possibly, selling it back to one of their OEM partners. Car Makers do that, but I'm not sure that is going to happen. You would really need an agreement up front to do that. The Platform would then have to be designed around your needs and that of the sharing OEM.
I certainly wish them all the best!
It would be nice if they could leverage their brands, particularly Lotus in a more out of the box way. My proposal does that... However, it seems a lot of people think I'm out of my box proposing it!
Here's a video showing a couple of losers talking about something similar.
The College is now a physical entity, here is a promo Video.
Lastly, I saw this video on youtube: I attended an ASLI conference with Alex. He was the most photographed man there!
I know a couple of other drivers from my time in Malaysia who would love to driving in this!